Kukla's Korner

Rob Ray Sues NHLPA & Receives Settlement

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Buffalo News,

Rob Ray, his back to the rink, craned his neck at the JumboTron before Wednesday night's preseason game between his former teams, the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. He had heard his name mentioned during the replay of a 1993 Sabres-Senators game and turned around in time to see a young version of himself pulverize Darcy Loewen into the glass. "I was pretty good then," he cracked. Ray's playing days are done now - officially. The Sabres' all-time tough guy deposited a $70,000 check that settled his lawsuit with the NHL Players Association. He sued the union after it informed him in November he had been classified as retired even though he hadn't filed the required paperwork. The union's stance denied him the $5,000 and $10,000 monthly lockout stipends paid to other players.

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HDTV & Sports Go Together

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

If you don't see the value in high-definition television because you don't watch movies or network dramas, you might be pleased to learn that programmers are gearing up for the fall and winter sports seasons with new HD offerings. The National Hockey League last week announced that 52 games will be shown in high definition on HDNet, a network found mostly on satellite systems. Coverage begins Wednesday with Wayne Gretzky's coaching debut as his Phoenix Coyotes meet the Vancouver Canucks. "No sport benefits as much from HDTV as hockey," HDNet president Mark Cuban said in a statement. That's pretty generous coming from Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association. The Outdoor Life Network, which will carry the NHL season in standard definition, is signing deals with some cable companies to carry NHL games in HD.
more..the article goes on to discuss basketball and football in HD.

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Stop The Diving

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun via Slam,

Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn backs Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray's call for the National Hockey League to be more lenient about physical play in front of the goal. "You should still have the battles around the net," Quinn said. "Not the holding, nobody wants that. But you should be able to block a guy off. You are entitled to your area."

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Fast Ice

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Sun,

After six years of complaints about the slow, choppy ice in their home rink, the Maple Leafs hope to get a step ahead with modern science. Practice at the Air Canada Centre was halted yesterday to let building personnel tell the players and coach Pat Quinn about Fast Ice, a new system designed to improve one of the most difficult rinks to maintain in the National Hockey League. Basically, it's chemically treated water that is laid down in a mist as opposed to straight flooding. "It hardens quicker," said Bob Hunter, general manager of the ACC. "We think it's going to make a difference."

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Leafs Have Issues Up The Middle

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

With less than a week before the NHL season opens, the Leafs' grand plan to charge into battle with three behemoth centres — Mats Sundin, Jason Allison and Eric Lindros — is already running out of steam. Allison and Lindros are struggling to stay healthy, so the trio might not even be able to start the season. If they do, it's still not a sure bet they'll all play centre. "Not really," Leafs coach Pat Quinn said yesterday when asked if he's got any firm plans for the three giants. "You can make plans, but we don't know if they'll start the season. Right now they're not in the middle, they're nowhere ... they're in the stands." Allison (hip flexor) has appeared in one pre-season game while Lindros (oblique muscles) has three to his credit. The lack of participation, even though the games are meaningless, has compromised roster decisions and thrown a wrench into preparations for Wednesday's opener at home against Ottawa.

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Hatcher Not Happy With Penalty Calls

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the News Journal,

Veteran defenseman Derian Hatcher has seen each of the Flyers' two home preseason games and admits he's as confused as anyone when it comes to deciphering what is a penalty and what is not. "Don't ask me what I think," Hatcher said after completing his second full practice since returning from a left knee sprain. "Some of the (calls) I personally think are ridiculous." He said he is in favor of ridding the sport of hold-ups in the neutral zone, but does not want the one-on-one battles completely eliminated from the game. "You can't battle now, give me a break," he said. "The NHL is trying to create the warrior-type image and yet they're taking a lot of that out of the game. I think it's ridiculous and I think most of the players in the league do, too."

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No Room For Racist Remarks

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Edmonton Sun,

You'd never hear anyone say most black players in the NHL play tough but then back down when someone challenges them. Comments as racist and offensive as that aren't aired in post-game interviews. And if they were, the player who made them would be fined and suspended into oblivion. They know better than to even think about spewing that kind of garbage. But when it comes to ripping Frenchmen, the lips get a whole lot looser. On Monday, Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery, upset with Denis Gauthier's open-ice hit on teammate Jeremy Roenick, said "it was typical of most French players in our league with a visor on, running around and playing tough and not backing anything up.''

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NO SI Jinx For Flames

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

The Sports Illustrated jinx doesn't concern Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla -- or worry him or perturb him in any meaningful way. The magazine picked the Flames to win the 2006 Stanley Cup on Tuesday, cranking up the pressure on a team that isn't used to dealing with great expectations going into a new National Hockey League season. Such recognition from Sports Illustrated has sometimes been considered the kiss of death for athletes and teams. "Nobody in our dressing room is getting ahead of themselves," Iginla said.

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Don’t Turn Back

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via the St. Petersburg Times,

Don't turn back now. That's the message Lightning coach John Tortorella is sending to everyone in and around the NHL, including fans and media. Over the weekend, Tortorella saw glimpses that the NHL might be easing off its crackdown of obstruction calls and hopes the NHL will stick with its new plan. "I already know in this league, people are complaining about it," Tortorella said. "And we can't complain about it. We have to allow this to happen. And I just hope we have some strong people to see this through." The only concern Tortorella has about the actual enforcement part of the rules is that the physical part of the game might go out with the cheating. "You can't take the physical part out," Tortorella said. "Everybody wants that physical part and that's something we got to find here because we can't lose that. You still have to call the cheap stuff, though."

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Could Boyton Get An Offer Sheet

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Milford Daily News,

There may well be one or more NHL general managers out there right now scheming about how they can steal unsigned free agent Nick Boynton away from the Bruins. Why in the world wouldn't they be? The opportunity is there for one of them to land a 26-year-old, solid, all-round defenseman who played in the last All-Star Game, without giving up anything more than a first-round draft choice and one or two lesser picks. If the Bruins sent out word they were willing to trade Boynton for that price, say a No. 1 and a No. 3 pick, there'd be 29 teams eager to make that deal.

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